King to departments: 'Clean up your office'

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

One of Marshall County's committees is dealing with the nitty-gritty business of running the local government - literally.

"We sent a memo out to the department heads asking them if they would consider cleaning their own offices," Commissioner Mickey King said.

"We, as the Building Committee, have been put in the position of looking at every cost cutting thing we can do to keep the property tax rate from going up," King said. "Times are hard."

As chairman of the committee that met Thursday, King signed a letter Friday that's being circulated to various county department leaders.

That includes offices in the Courthouse, the Courthouse Annex, the Hardison Office Annex, the Library, and the Health Department, King said.

"I feel like we'll get pretty good cooperation from the offices, but we don't have vacuum cleaners," he said. "Where do you put them and who runs them?

"And there are common areas like halls and bathrooms can cause a big problem if you don't take care of them," he said, turning to another issue, "Right now we don't buy cleaning supplies. That's all furnished by the cleaning people."

King also recognizes offices are different. Many people come and go at the County Clerk's office because of license plate renewals. The county mayor's office does not have as much traffic.

Regardless, the "do it your self" theme is what the commissioners are promoting.

Exempt from the letter's request are the departments that have been overseeing their own maintenance and janitorial services such as the Sheriff's Department and County Jail, the County Highway Department, the Marshall County Board of Public Utilities office, the county's Emergency Medical Service, the school bus garage and all the schools.

Some county officials, including Commissioner Billy Spivey, attended the Building Committee meeting last week to learn if there had been any progress toward an agreement to expand the responsibilities of the school system's maintenance department to serve the various county offices that are affected by the committee's memo signed by King.

The idea was discussed last spring and that talk was renewed in recent weeks, but without much action and King reported, "I have not been contacted back by the schools. I've tried a couple of phone calls and have not been able to get back with them."

Spivey said he'd spoken with a school board member. While that one may be interested in an agreement, Spivey said he senses a lack of activity on the idea.

As for the committee's memo to various departments, Spivey said it's a "pretty powerful move there, but I think everybody's willing to pitch in."

King's position on expanding the schools' maintenance department includes a recognition - time is growing short to have an agreement in place before the start of the next fiscal year on July 1.

"My biggest concern on cleaning was how to cut services and still keep the buildings clean," King said. "To be honest, I don't know how far we can go. At what point do you say, enough is enough? We're trying to cut every cost that we can."